Bhagwad Geetha according to Dr L.Prakash
Srimadbhagwad Geetha is a part of Parasharaputhra Krishnadwapayana's immortal classic epic Mahabharatha. It is in many pages and in Sanskrit, a language not familiar to too many people. As a part of his Mahabharatha, Dr Prakash has condenced the whole of Geetha in a single chapter. Geetha is a philosophy and doctrine of life, which is an invaluable text on the art of living.
Arjuna looked up and saw the fluttering flag atop his chariot with an image of Lord Hanuman, the monkey god. He checked up his Gandiva and found that the stings were taut and well balanced. He touched the quiver strapped to his back and felt the rear ends of his arrows. Arjuna was such an expert archer that he could identify the arrows by feel alone. A gentle caress to his arrows told him that all was in order. He then spoke to Lord Krishna, and said,
“On infallible one! Oh Lord Vasudava! Please draw my chariot to the beginning of the array. Please take me to the front between the two armies, let me look with my own eyes as to who are present here, who desire to fight, and with whom I must contend in this great trial of arms”
Lord Krishna gave a smile and a gentle nudge to the reigns as the chariot made its way gliding over the sand and mud, like Indra’s chariot gliding over the clouds in the sky. Reaching the ‘no mans land’ between the two armies, Lord Krishna stopped and turned back to Arjuna. He said “Have a look in front of you, see, look and identify your enemies, decide as to who are your opponents. Tighten your belts and increase your grip on your Gandiva. Your arrows seek the appropriate targets in the form of your enemy’s hearts”
And then Arjuna gazed ahead to look at the large army of the supporters of Drithrashtra’s sons. In a glance, he saw his fathers, grand fathers, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons, grand sons, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, supporters, friends and well-wishers. He suddenly realised that there was no enemy to be seen. The Army on both sides consisted of friends and relatives really close to each once. Arjuna suddenly developed cold feet. Turning back to Lord Krishna, he said. “Oh Lord Krishna! I came here to fight my enemies, but of my enemies, I don’t see a sign. All I see, are friends and relatives on both sides. The limbs of my body quiver with anxiety and I feel my mouth drying up!”
Arjuna continued to look at the people against whom he was to fight. As he saw each face he remembered the good time spent with that person. He saw Bhishma and remembered the times that he had spent with the grandsire sitting on his lap and listening to the stories of his ancestors like Yayati and Devyani. He looked to Drona and remembered their first meeting, when the Guru dressed as a poor and penniless Brahmana had retrived their ball and Yudishra’s ring from the well. He saw Aswathama and remembered the pleasant times that they had together playing as children. In this manner he looked at every person.
Even Duryodhana had spent a good time with him playing as children. The more he saw, the more were the memories that flooded his mind. He saw friends and relatives. He saw people whom he had known all his life. But of an enemy, he saw no sign. In a shocked voice filled with horror, Arjuna addressed Krinshna thus.
“Oh Narayana! Oh Janardhana! I can not see how any good can come out of killing my own kin in this battle. And what use to me is the victory or kingdom that comes from slaying my own people? I am so confused and upset, that I have lost all the will to fight. What is the use of a kingdom which comes only by killing those that I rever, respect, and love? To me, it seems that I must not fight even if I win all the three worlds by killing my own beloved people. I have suddenly realised that my desire for the riches, kingdoms and valour has totally evaporated. To me, it is better if the sons of Drithrashtra kill me unarmed and unresisting in the battle field. The price we pay is too high for the rewards we seek. Oh Janardana! I have lost all the will to put up a fight”
So saying Arjuna gently laid down his bow and arrows. He sat down silently on the chariot, with his mind overwhelmed with grief and emotions. Hearing Arjuna speak in such a depressed manner, Lord Krishna was worried. He said.
“Oh Arjuna! From where do these cowardly thoughts come upon you? How has this sudden impotence and weakness crept upon you? Arise and awake. To run away from your duty is the character of a coward and not that of a Kshatriya!”
But Arjuna was so depressed that he would not listen to reason. With his head bowed and lips quivering with emotions, he said.
“Oh Madhava! Oh Madhusudhana! Please do not try to convince me to do what is so apparently wrong. To me it seems to be more Dharmic and correct to go around peniless and with a begging bowl, than to enjoy the luxuries of a palace life that I would get by killing my own people. I can find no means to drive away the grief that is drying up my sences. I have made a final decision. I shall not fight!”
At this stage, Lord Krishna gave an advice to Arjuna as to what his true duties and responsibilities were; and this part of the epic Mahabharata, is ‘Bhagwad Gita’.
Lord Krinsha’s advice to Arjuna is a literary masterpiece and is enshrined in the minds of millions of people as a word of God. It is also acknowledged as one of the supreme treasures of human literature. Though written many centuries ago, the teachings are so characteristic and pertinent to the life and living style of the human beings, that all of it is even relevant today. It is a gospel of devotion to duty without expecting rewards.
(The text of Bhagvad Gita should be read in full and in original Sanskrit to understand its lucidity and excellence. A brief description of its teachings would not do a justice to the original.)
Lord Krishna said
“Oh Arjuna! Change is the essence of life. Nothing is constant. Everything changes. A person born as a helpless child changes into an infant and then a toddler. He then grows into a child, adolescent and then a youth. He then changes to a middle aged and finally an old person. This constant change can not be stopped. But human beings are not happy with change. They get complacent with the prevailing situations and neither anticipate change, nor look forward to change. The perishable human body is a change for the perpetual soul, which changes bodies as we change clothes. Thus a human being must never be satisfied with a status quo. Not changing and remaining at the same place, will produce decay and destruction. Only change is progress. Thus to succeed in life, you must anticipate change, and keep changing yourself to match the changing situations around you. And a constant preparation to face the changes, only comes from a confidence in your inner mind”.
He then said
“Emotions are a consequence to our response to changing situations. However the emotions of both happiness and sorrow are transient. Happiness is not in being pleased when you get what you want. Happiness is in being able to maintain equanimity between expectations and actual results. It takes a greater effort to achieve happiness by running after results. A person who is able to control his emotions will achieve results better than one who is overwhelmed by his emotions”.
“Eternal truth is the only unchanging situation in this whole universe. Unlike the human body, which is finite and gets destroyed after it has fulfilled its purpose, the human soul is infinite which has neither the beginning, the middle nor the end. It is this perpetual and unchanging characteristic of the human soul, that makes it a supreme character of every individual”
Arjuna listened with a rapt attention while Krishna continued the discourse. He said “The next aspect that a person has to concentrate on is his duty. There is no higher calling or no greater prayer than duty. Duty is the ultimate devotion and work is the most devoted worship. One must not be performing his duties with an expectation for a reward. Performance of one’s duties correctly is a reward in itself. And as a consequence of performing one’s duties correctly, if one gets a reward, then it is a bonus. But a ‘Karma-yogi’ does not think about his rewards while he does his duties”.
“It matters not what your work is. If you are a scholar, then study of Vedas and Puranas is your duty. If you are a Kshatriya, then vanquishing your enemy or laying down your life in a battle is your duty. It does not matter what your duty is, what matters is the sincerity and dedication with which you perform your duties. And a Karma-yogi performs his duties with total devotion without seeking rewards. The last but most important point is to be absolutely focused on your goals. Unless you start with a pre-defined goal, your actions would not culminate towards a successful outcome. Thus with a focused goal, a dedication in your acts, and devoid of emotions of anger or anguish, happiness or sorrow, love or hate, you must look straight ahead and perform what is expected of you”.
“As a Kshatriya you are born to die in a battle field. Your death will wash off all you sins and clear a straight path for you to heavens. Thinking this to be the ultimate result, if you proceed with all your determination and courage, you will surely succeed in your goals. And if you win the battle, you shall rule as a great emperor with opportunities to do a lot of good to a lot of people”.
“Oh Arjuna! Oh Dhananjaya! I hope my advice has reached your inner mind and you have understood your true duty at this time. Arise and awake. Look not at your opponents as your friends or relatives. Look not at your opponents as enemies. Set aside the fears of a loss and set aside the happiness of a victory. With a solitary and single minded focus on your goals go ahead, and victory is yours in all manner!”
Arjuna understood the discourse. He said “Oh master of three worlds! Oh Lord Krishna, your advice has helped me to regain my memory. Your advice has made me mentally strong and I have got back my courage. I now know what my duty is. Lead me to the war, and I shall do my duty as a Kshatriya.”
Sanjaya who was describing the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, to Drithrashtra then said “Where Master Yogi Lord Krishna and the mighty Archer Arjuna are present, victory is sure to come”
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